Noticed: The Lines of Marta Johansen

By Natalie Powell.

Marta Johansen creates complex, intricate landscapes by sketching hundreds upon hundreds of thin lines on white archival paper. Marta calls the trademark strokes that make up her works “living lines.”

Man Up by Marta Johansen

Her works, composed solely of overlapping, swirling, monochromatic lines, resemble magnified fingerprints.

Disallowed Territory by Marta Johansen

Marta notes, “I find myself living in the lines I draw. Lines have become a standard way for me to represent myself… To follow a line of a curve, to slow down and see everything one line at a time, I find character in each precise movement.”

I Can't Say It, I'm Waiting for Him To by Marta Johansen

Marta truly loses herself in each piece that she creates. Alicia Arlow, a friend of the artist, once had the privilege of observing Marta at work, and was astounded by her process. Alicia recalls, “I watched her draw for hours upon hours… the majority of her waking hours… She stayed up late, rose early, and used up so many micro-point pens that she wasn’t sure she would have enough money and pens to complete her pieces.”

Things Lost by Marta Johansen

Marta attributes her work’s clean, minimalist lines to her training as an architect at USC’s School of Architecture. Marta views her roles as architect and artist as complementary;  her unique design vision is compatible with both. “I… am constantly evolving, but always returning to the line.”

Love in the Shadows by Marta Johansen


Marta Johansen


All images courtesy of Marta Johansen.

This story was submitted by Alicia Arlow. To submit a story, click here.

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